A SNES Shaped PlayStation Controller? And Explanation of the PlayStation Shapes


Have you ever thought to yourself how SONY decided what the PlayStation’s controller would look like when they were initially designing the system? Did you ever think that there may have been a few punches thrown here and there so the big cheeses could get their way when making the ultimate decision on what the controller should look like? Who do you think won in the end? The big management blokes or the guy that designed a controller with no idea on how popular the system would become?

Well, I sort of gave that away didn’t I? The chap that designed the controller, Teiyu Goto, was the man behind the success of what is now in millions of homes across the world. Goto joined SONY after graduating from Technical School in 1977, and has had the pleasure on working behind the scenes on the console designs and the controllers we have all come to love.

Initially, the management at SONY wanted to follow in the footsteps of the SNES, yes – the SNES!

SONY wanted to keep the PlayStation’s controller more or less a similar design to the the flat SNES’ controller. Why? Because the SNES was a successful system, and they had desired to target the SNES audience with the introduction of the PlayStation.

However, Goto went off on a tangent and came up with a controller design which was nothing like what the management had asked for. Talk about almost getting the sack for not listening to your superiors! Even though many a word was exchanged, fists punched the air and fingers pointed across the conference table – it seemed Goto’s vision of a creating a rather 3D looking controller was fading away.

Luckily, Norio Ohga, who was SONY’s president at the time, was the only one who preferred the slick design Goto had created, and to cut a rather long story short – the PlayStation controller we have come to love was born. How is that for an amazing story?

Goto also had a explanation for the PlayStation Shapes on the controller we know and love today:

Other game companies at the time assigned alphabet letters or colors to the buttons. We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a color. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one’s head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively. People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that’s what I wanted.

Imagine if the PS controller really had taken shape like the flat SNES controller, would we have ever experienced the rumble? How would the rumble have worked in a flat SNES like design? Would you have enjoyed playing games using the SNES shaped controller on your beloved PS? Would it have given the PlayStation the same success it has enjoyed? Oh, so many questions – I think I’ll leave it at that!

However, I’d love to hear from you all to share your views regarding the controller!

Via 1UP


Written by: Madagasca - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Derrickgott007 on August 26th, 2010

    Explain why the functions of x and o are different in the USA than in japan. I always wondered why

  2. #2 by Martin on August 26th, 2010

    Lol looks nice

  3. #3 by InfectedDK on August 26th, 2010 [ 135 Points ]

    Looks awesome

  4. #4 by EdEN on August 27th, 2010 [ 141871 Points ]

    In Japan, the circle is culturally used to signify Yes while the X is used for no. Over here, it would seem that most people take to the X button as the confirm/yes button because it’s the one closest to the bottom of the controller.

  5. #5 by UbeRamza on August 27th, 2010 [ 915 Points ]

    Even though I loved the Super NES controller, especially my larger Super NES controller with the rapid fire selector switches on it ( The controller felt great in my hands because of the larger size but the rapid fire selectors were rarely ever used), I could never imagine playing the playstation with any other controller. It was an amazing controller design that became even better when it was modified as the Dual Shock. Its a true testament to the orginal design that it has endured through 3 different systems and is still going strong.
    I know when they first released picks for the PS3, when at that time they were having patent issues with the controller and they redesigned it to look like a boomerang, I hated it. I couldn’t stand the redesign and I had my fingers crossed that they would resolve the problem before it was released and thank goodness for all of us, they did.

  6. #6 by UbeRamza on August 27th, 2010 [ 915 Points ]

    EdEN:

    In Japan, the circle is culturally used to signify Yes while the X is used for no. Over here, it would seem that most people take to the X button as the confirm/yes button because it’s the one closest to the bottom of the controller.  

    ^

    The X button over here is the confirm button and games like Final Fantasy have made the Triangle button the defacto Menu button, I know that anytime a developer changes either one of these buttons uses, it throws me off big time lol. So game companies, please don’t change the X or Triangle button.

  7. #7 by derrickgott007 on August 27th, 2010 [ 871 Points ]

    MetalGearSolid has the reversed x and o and has caused me to exit instead of select stuff many times. Gran Turismo was the same way…. Come on, if you’re going to localize for the USA keep the x and o buttons in mind!!! Aaaaarrrgggghhh! Raaaaaaagggeeeeee!!!

  8. #8 by Linarde on September 28th, 2010

    “Imagine if the PS controller really had taken shape like the flat SNES controller, would we have ever experienced the rumble?”

    Obviously. The N64 had rumble 6 months before the PS, so that design had zero contribution to having rumble.


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